U.S. Water News Online
MANASSAS, Va. -- It's the law. No more wasteful flushing. But customers who can now save 25 percent on their indoor water use through federally mandated "low flow" toilets remain unimpressed.
In fact, some of them are downright desperate.
Poor performance by many of the new models is causing many homeowners to look for alternatives, but a year after the legislation was passed, supplies of old models are nearly depleted.
"We hate them," Cynthia Adler said of the four low-flow toilets in their new Reston, Va. house. "There's only about a cup and a half of water in the bowl. They don't work. And you have to scour the toilet every time you use it."
The Adlers are checking with companies that do remodeling, hopeful that they can get the toilets out of an older house that is being torn down.
By federal decree, the new "low flow" models must flush only 1.6 gallons of water -- less than half the amount they used to flush. The 3.5-gallon model can no longer be manufactured.
People such as Simounet, vice president of Atlas Plumbing in Manassas, Va., take calls "all the time" from frustrated flushers trying to locate an illegal toilet. Simounet, who supplies around 3,000 houses a year through builders, reads a prepared statement to disgruntled customers, explains the law, and laments that "new problems which you never experienced with your old toilet may manifest themselves depending on personal characteristics."
"A plunger," Simounet tells clients, "would be a good investment."
Commercial toilets don't have to comply with the low-flow law until January. And some commercial toilets look and work exactly like residential toilets. So what's to stop the consumer from buying a commercial toilet and taking it home?
"They're marked for commercial use only," said one wholesaler, "but you could possibly buy one."
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